THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC IMPLICATIONS OF LATE MARRIAGE ON MATERNITY
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The global trend of late marriage is inevitable and on the increase on a daily basis. (Philip n. Cohen 2013) asserted that “marriage decline is both worldwide and real”. He further illustrated the incidence of late marriage using 174 countries. Using two data points, he finds out that 87% of the population is living in a country with falling marriage prevalence. However, writing in the 1980s, Robert Chester (1985) was among those who noted that marriage rates among young adults had declined in many western countries (Haralambos 2008). He noted that first; Sweden and Denmark experienced falling marriage rates among the under-thirties. The trend continued in Britain, the U.S.A and western Germany in the early 1970s and later spread to France (Haralambos 2008). This trend has continued to increase and spread all over the world.
In Nigeria, the prevalence of later marriage is commonly found among Eastern and Western regions of the country. This is common among the Igbo and Yoruba speaking people because of expensive dowry payment and career pursuit. However, this has transited even to the northern part; were on the contrary, early marriage was mostly practice. Take for instance in Kaduna state, later marriages are mostly among the southern Kaduna people (who are majority Christians) compare to northern part (who are majority Muslim) were early marriages are commonly practiced.
The social transition to later marriages is unlikely to be pain-free either for individuals, parents or governments; since delayed marriage by definition means prolong exposure at least to the possibility of premarital sex and its consequences (Susan 2004). The concept of late marriage has been use to describe people who got married at an advance age. It is a term use to illustrate individuals who got married at the age of 27 and above for women, and 29for men. It simply depicts the fact that when an individual decides to forgo marriage for some reasons, he/she will end up getting married late in life either consciously or unconsciously.
Therefore, prospective parents need to know that the decision they make on when, who, and how to get married in their life time have an unimaginable consequence and or implication to first: them becoming parent, secondly the future of the unborn child, and lastly to the society at large. According to Jane (2004), she also stated that “among other decisions, prospective parent must consider how their age will affect their child- biologically, psychologically, and socially”. The age of potential parent more especially that of the mother influences the biological aspect of her conceiving, pregnant, and also giving birth. This research is based on assessing the socio-economic implications of late marriage on maternity. With a case study of Chikun local government area of Kaduna state Nigeria.
1.2 STATEMENT OF RESEARCH PROBLEM
There is on a daily basis an increasing rate of infertility, high maternal mortality, infant mortality, frequent miscarriages/abortions, spousal abuse, among other social vices; and many people are ignorant of what causes the problem. After settling down, and there are no issues, or a couple begins to face challenges with conception and giving birth, many people will start asking what really is wrong with them, and what could be responsible for their childlessness. The utmost desire and joy of every couple is to have children that will bear their name and inherit their estate when they are no more. However, most prospective parents are carried away by the toils and struggles of survival, forgetting that, at an advance age in marriage, they are left with little or no time to take care of their kids.
According to Sheehan (2013), “today’s woman is encouraged to be independent and career oriented;……… because the phase of life devoted to forming relationships and establishing families (usually age 25-30) is also the period of life when career-oriented individuals devote almost exclusive attention to developing their career, marriage becomes the last option for thought. According to the U.S.(census bureau), populations with later mean ages at first marriage tend to be more urbanized, to have higher levels of educational attainment and to use family planning within marriage and outside marriage. In the 1940s and 50s, women were expected to get married right out of high school and begin a family soon after (Sheehan 2013). The age of first time mothers has been increasing; i.e marriages are on a declined.
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